CSIRO shows cyclone (hurricane) frequency down, contradict Gore and many others who claim Global Warming will increase them

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From The Australian:

Climate change to mean fewer cyclones and smaller waves, says CSIRO research

CSIRO research commissioned by the federal government suggests climate change could dramatically reduce the number of tropical cyclones in the Australian region and decrease wave heights on the nation’s east coast.

The surprise findings, which appear to contradict some common predictions about the impact of climate change, are contained in scientific papers on “Projecting Future Climate and its Extremes”, obtained under Freedom of Information laws by The Australian Online.

One paper, by CSIRO researcher Debbie Abbs, found rising temperatures could halve the frequency of tropical  cyclones.

“Climate change projections using this modelling system show a strong tendency for a decrease in TC numbers in the Australian region, especially in the region of current preferred occurrence,” Dr Abbs said.

“On average for the period 2051-2090 relative to 1971-2000, the simulations show an approximately 50 per cent decrease in occurrence for the Australian region, a small decrease (0.3 days) in the duration of a given TC and a southward movement of 100km in the genesis and decay regions.”

The CSIRO has meanwhile today called for a carbon price to be a key part of the nation’s overall climate action.

CSIRO chief Dr Megan Clark will today join 600 of Australia’s top climate change scientists at a meeting in Cairns to update the latest observations.

Full story: here h/t to WUWT reader Scarlet Pumpernickel

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While CSIRO hasn’t seen fit to add this new work to their climate change page yet, Dr. Ryan Maue’s work supports the new CSIRO premise:

Global, Northern Hemisphere, and Southern Hemisphere Tropical Cyclone Accumulated Energy (ACE) remain at decades-low levels. With the fantastic dearth of November and December global hurricane activity, it is also observed that the frequency of global hurricanes has continued an inexorable plunge into a double-dip recession status. With 2010 being a globally “hot” year, we saw the fewest number of global tropical cyclones observed since at least 1970.

Figure: Last 4-decades of Global and Northern Hemisphere Accumulated Cyclone Energy: 24 month running sums through March 31, 2011. Note that the year indicated represents the value of ACE through the previous 24-months for the Northern Hemisphere (bottom line/gray boxes) and the entire global (top line/blue boxes). The area in between represents the Southern Hemisphere total ACE. Data for the graph: File

Figure: Last 4-decades of Global Tropical Storm and Hurricane frequency — 12-month running sums. The top time series is the number of TCs that reach at least tropical storm strength (maximum lifetime wind speed exceeds 34-knots). The bottom time series is the number of hurricane strength (64-knots+) TCs. The added red lines are linear trends, which serve the useful purpose of delineating the respective time-series mean, since they are flat and parallel. Updated through January 31, 2011 — including Cyclone Yasi but NOT Zaka (12P).

24-month Running Sums image is found here .

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52 thoughts on “CSIRO shows cyclone (hurricane) frequency down, contradict Gore and many others who claim Global Warming will increase them

  1. About the CSIRO I put the following comment at Jo Nova’s site (one has to wonder):

    “I almost forgot why I went to the CSIRO web site LOL … I was looking for said disclaimer (and they have lots), but I think the best is probably the general one hanging off the main site home page:

    Link: http://www.csiro.au/org/LegalNoticeAndDisclaimer.html
    Source: Legal {Notice and Disclaimer} at foot of page

    In a nutshell they are not responsible for anything they write.

    (Start CSIRO quote)
    Always check the information

    Information at this site:
    * is general information provided as part of CSIRO’s statutory role in the dissemination of information relating to scientific and technical matters
    * is not professional, scientific, medical, technical or expert advice
    * is subject to the usual uncertainties of advanced scientific and technical research
    * may not be accurate, current or complete
    * is subject to change without notice
    * should never be relied on as the basis for doing or failing to do something
    (/end CSIRO quote)

    But wait there’s more:

    (Start CSIRO quote)
    DISCLAIMER
    You accept all risks and responsibility for losses, damages, costs and other consequences resulting directly or indirectly from using this site and any information or material available from it.

    To the maximum permitted by law, CSIRO excludes all liability to any person arising directly or indirectly from using this site and any information or material available from it.
    (/end CSIRO quote)

    I ask one simple question … if this advice on the CSIRO web site is potentially inaccurate, unscientific, unprofessional and subject to change without notice, why, oh why, are we basing a $10 billion a year Federal taxation policy on it?”

    It seemed relevant to this article.

  2. I am confused as to what and who Dr Megan Clark really represents.
    Make up your own mind:

    http://www.the-funneled-web.com/N%26V_2008%20%28Jan-Dec%29/N%26V_0809/news__views_item_sep_2008-080903.htm

    I do know that there are troubles at mill of the CSIRO with Chief Scientist Professor Penny Sackett recently resigning, apparently by being ignored by Prime Minister Gillard on the decision of a national carbon tax. And in the past allegations of censorship over CSIRO scientific papers stating that global warming was overstated.

    Clark, who now has to run the show, is obviously treading a fine line between pleasing her political sponsors guaranteeing future funding for the CSIRO and obtaining talented scientists without a political agenda.

    One thing that make me optimistic- she welcomes debate on climate change. If it is fair and balanced I say – bring it on! Two years ago there was no chance we could have one.

  3. As Andrew Bolt, find in the sidebar, reports apart from this they have also had to admit it has been extremely cold and wet down under recently.

    Kindest Regards

  4. Also Dr. Roger Pielke Jr, sidebar, has an interesting post on the recent big wet in Oz, nice to see a real scientist being both open and cautious.

    Kindest Regards

  5. Fewer cyclones and smaller waves would appear to be a significant benefit of climate change. If there is going to be less natural disasters of this type, then the economic consequences involved in not mitigating CO2 emissions should be correspondingly lower thereby making it somewhat less attractive to expend money on mitigating rising CO2 emissions.

    This resaerch therefore strengthens the case that adapation is a better policy to that of mitigation, and that adaption is the more cost effective policy.

  6. There has been no warming since 1998 and ocean surface temperatures have fallen, albeit by a small amount but this is a tremendous amount of heat, so I would expect this. Lower temperatures should lead to a lower frequency of storms. So this lower frequency is a good corollary for lower temperatures.

    Mind you I am working with alarmist theories, or at least a part of one, about heat and storms.

  7. Interesting that it was only forthcoming after a Freedom of Information request.

    This will be a long, hard road.

  8. I can see why models would predict this. The models predict that the upper atmosphere in the tropics will warm more than other parts of the atmosphere. If this were to happen it would diminish the temperature differences between the upper and lower atmosphere that drive tropical cyclones. However as the equatorial upper atmosphere `hot spot’ has conspicuously failed to eventuate, very little weight should be placed on this prediction of lowered cyclone activity.

    What is interesting here is not so much the result, but the way in which predictions like this one which are not catastrophic or alarming tend to be sidelined, downplayed, and wherever possible ignored.

  9. A number of posters to the Australian have noted that even if there are fewer cyclones they will be more severe due to climate change. What these commentators don’t say is that the cyclone situation in early 2011 when Queensland was battered by severe tropical cyclone Yasi was slightly less severe than in 1918 when Queensland was battered by two severe cyclones (Mackay and Innisfall). As 1918 has not, as yet, been classified as being a year affected by AGW the situation in 2011 can hardly be described as uniquely caused by AGW.

  10. We have had global cooling (the last ~10-15 years), of course it is down. Before that, it was up, due to warming (70s, 80s, 90s).

    The cooling will likely deepen in the next few decades (solar).

    Sea level will also start dropping (already is) and likely even CO2 content, despite anthropogenic emissions, which are easily overwhelmed by natural cycles.

  11. Lower energy in the Earth climate system will always lead to lower storm levels. The Earth does not need to fight so hard to maintain equilibrium. This would suggest a cooling Earth and not a warming one. With old Sol asleep and the heat bleeding from the oceans, the fight against the alarmists will not be won by debate for it is a religion coupled to politics. The Earth will beat them, for nothing they have said has proved to be in the slightest true. The next few decades will add a lot of egg to a lot of faces.
    I would love to see those who pushed the ice age commeth, then pushed the global warming barrow, live long enough to see the folly of their nonsense.

  12. They are predicting bigger swells but smaller waves. Waves are caused mainly by wind, So in effect they are saying there will be less wind. So how do windfarms work with less wind.
    Further, they are saying, that with a smaller temperature gradient, there will be less cyclones. In other words they are still pushing the disproven computer models of the warmist prediction.
    They still want a carbon tax.

  13. As global warming theory predicts greater warming at the poles and as the strength of storms is driven by energy differentials and this warming would tend to make them contract rather than increase, I was always surprised that global warming hysterics were predicting a rise in cyclone activity and severity when my understanding of the physics underlying cyclones suggested the opposite.

    So the question for me is do the observational facts of decreased storm severity and frequency actually tend to confirm global warming theory, at least on the question of where the world is warming the most?

  14. How can governments ever prepare for the future in our ‘warming world’? Climate change research has indeed become a self parody.

    IPCC – AR4 (2007)
    “In NSW, the intensity of the 1-in-40 year event increases by 5 to 15% by 2070 (Hennessy et al., 2004). The frequency of severe tropical cyclones (Categories 3, 4 and 5) on the east Australian coast increases 22% for the IS92a scenario (IPCC, 1992) from 2000 to 2050, with a 200 km southward shift in the cyclone genesis region, leading to greater exposure in south-east Queensland and north-east NSW (Leslie and Karoly, 2007). For tripled pre-industrial CO2 conditions, there is a 56% increase in the number of simulated tropical cyclones over north-eastern Australia with peak winds greater than 30 m/s (Walsh et al., 2004). ”

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch11s11-3.html

    K.J.E. Walsh et. al. – 2003
    Simulations of the effect of climate change are performed. Under enhanced greenhouse conditions, simulated numbers of TCs do not change very much compared with those simulated for the current climate, nor do regions of occurrence. There is a 56% increase in the number of simulated storms with maximum winds greater than 30 m s–1 (alternatively, a 26% increase in the number of storms with central pressures less than 970 hPa).

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/brmpmturdqvxh3vv/

  15. This contradicts Gore and “many others”?

    I believe that Gore said the incidence of *severe* cyclones would increase, not the incidence of cyclones generally, which the IPCC said was indeterminate from the modeling they reviewed. Perhaps Anthony could produce the quotes of the “many” in context, given his assertion and Condemnation.

    But more interesting, why is it the skeptics are so keen to put their faith in modeling so suddenly?

  16. Well, aside from the humor of AGW causing more cyclones and less cyclones, thanks to the AGW camp needing the results to fit what is happening. The truth is warming would cause less cyclones and less severe cyclones/hurricanes whatever. It’s a matter of it takes Warm+Cold to make storms, if you have Warm+Warm you don’t get much.

  17. It’s all about Sunspot Activity. And the two, ACE and Sunspot Activity correlate most nicely.

  18. Can you imagine if the CSIRO study showed an opposite increase in the frequency of tropical cyclones around Australia and the paper was subsequently obtained under Freedom of Information laws. There would be furore! There would be investigations. People would get fired. This is why AGW is a scam.

  19. Less hurricanes.
    Decceleration of sea level rise.
    No upper atmosphere red spot. (or wherever it was supposed to appear)
    Kilimanjaro glaciers growing.
    Antarctica ice covered surface in historic maxima.
    Global temperatures stagnat at best.
    .
    .
    .

    What else has to happen to falsify CAGW????
    I though ONE empirical set of data that does not fit with the theory would suffice to falsify a theory.

  20. Is it just me, or does this sound like this study is trying to fit reality? Let’s see, we want Climate Change to be true, but the hurricane predictions have not worked out. So, let’s have a new study showing fewer hurricanes means global warming is true.

    The next headlines will read, “Global Warming is a fact. New study links fewer hurricanes to man made global warming.” I guess the debate is now over.

  21. As I understand it, tropical cyclones depend rather critically on sea surface temperature. One of the conditions for the storms developing and maintaining themselves is a Sea Surface Temperature above about 80F(26.5C). Warmer planet = higher SSTs over more area = greater chance of cyclonic development and less chance of the storm weakening or breaking up if it wanders into colder waters. So more tropical cyclone activity on average seems a reasonable prediction for even modest planetary warming.

    As Ryan Maue’s site shows, it’s not happening. http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/

    Compared to some of the other predictions about AGW, this one seems quite reasonable. The question would seem to be why, if the planet is warming dramatically, this apparently quite reasonable prediction isn’t working out.

  22. The CSIRO has meanwhile today called for a carbon price to be a key part of the nation’s overall climate action.

    CSIRO chief Dr Megan Clark will today join 600 of Australia’s top climate change scientists at a meeting in Cairns to update the latest observations.

    It actually says climate change scientists, that explains why they’re going to Cairns rather than some place west of the divide that has flies in its climate.

  23. >>Ian H says: April 4, 2011 at 2:22 am
    >>However as the equatorial upper atmosphere `hot spot’ has conspicuously
    >>failed to eventuate, very little weight should be placed on this prediction of
    >>lowered cyclone activity.

    Which brings us back to that thought experiment (WUWT some time ago) with a metal sphere around it. If there is no upper atmosphere hot spot, then the entire thesis of CO2 AGW crumbles, because this is the ‘greenhouse insulation layer’ (same as the metal sphere) that should be warming the earth.

    No hotspot, no Co2 AGW.

    .

  24. DeanL says “But more interesting, why is it the skeptics are so keen to put their faith in modeling so suddenly?”

    Dean I think you miss the skeptic point of view here.
    Modeling confirms more intense cyclones.
    Modeling confirms less cyclones.
    With all these models confirming and refuting each other, how can the science be settled?
    Someone may say “but the models don’t refute one another. We can expect fewer cyclones but with the occasional more intense one every so often.” to which I would reply “then why the panic?”.

  25. Sorry, missed out a couple of words…

    >>Ian H says: April 4, 2011 at 2:22 am
    >>However as the equatorial upper atmosphere `hot spot’ has conspicuously
    >>failed to eventuate, very little weight should be placed on this prediction of
    >>lowered cyclone activity.

    Which brings us back to that thought experiment (WUWT some time ago) of the earth with a metal sphere around it. If there is no upper atmosphere hot spot, then the entire thesis of CO2 AGW crumbles, because this is the ‘greenhouse insulation layer’ (same as the metal sphere) that should be warming the earth.

    No hotspot, no Co2 AGW.

  26. Paul R says:
    April 4, 2011 at 5:15 am

    “CSIRO chief Dr Megan Clark will today join 600 of Australia’s top climate change scientists at a meeting in Cairns to update the latest observations.”

    Wow…there are 600 top climate change scientists in Australia alone?! They probably cost about $50 million dollars/year in government salaries/benefits. Climate ca$h in action!

  27. Perhaps a “bait and switch”?

    As temps appear to be falling (now or in the near future) they will declare that ___(?) is responsible and we must enact taxation NOW to fight its effect on climate.

    Wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

  28. On the one hand, models are models. As skeptics we can’t get too excited about models that spit out something we like while blasting models that spit out what we don’t like.

    On the other hand, SHAME on CSIRO and the Australian government having to be forced by FOIA to admit this study existed.

  29. DeanL says:
    April 4, 2011 at 3:40 am

    This contradicts Gore and “many others”?

    I believe that Gore said the incidence of *severe* cyclones would increase, not the incidence of cyclones generally, which the IPCC said was indeterminate from the modeling they reviewed. Perhaps Anthony could produce the quotes of the “many” in context, given his assertion and Condemnation.

    But more interesting, why is it the skeptics are so keen to put their faith in modeling so suddenly?
    =====
    ah Dean..
    I dont think we are trusting modelling.
    what Anthony and the Australian is showing
    is that the CSIRO will not even allow a whisper of their own models that don’t toe the AGW fear and panic line to gain any airtime.
    Having to Use FOI to get access to public funded research is wrong.

  30. These storms come from a collision of too-warm and too-cold fronts, because it is the degree of temperature separation between colliding systems that is important. Apparently some AGW climate scientists think that cold will get warmer and warm will get warmer by the same degree, which would result in no overall trend or a small downward tick. Apparently other AGW climate scientists think cold will get colder and warm will get warmer, which would result in an obvious uptick. Still others think that cold will get warmer and warm will stay the same, resulting in a decided down-tick. This is called AGW consensus for those not familiar with that term’s new definition.

  31. For those who post that sunspot activity lines up nicely with ACE, please post your graph, and remember to take into account our growing ability to detect storm activity across the globe. Please speak to correlation AND causation. Poorly done wriggle matching without serious thought on mechanism is not post normal or normal science, it is caveman science.

  32. What a joke!

    Now it has been shown that the number and intensity of tropical storms has been going down for 30 years, in contradiction IPCC claims. They now change tack.

    I predict more of this before the next IPCC report which will then claim: “frequency and intensity of tropical storms has been decreasing over the last 50 years as is predicted by global warming. ”

    My call: heads, it’s due to global warming, tails it’s because of global warming.

  33. “CSIRO chief Dr Megan Clark will today join 600 of Australia’s top climate change scientists at a meeting in Cairns to update the latest observations.”

    Wow…there are 600 top climate change scientists in Australia alone?!

    All climate change scientists are “top climate change scientists” (as long as they are not DENIERS).

  34. I’ve become used to various advocacy groups making mutually-exclusive claims like this. By doing so, they guarantee that no matter what happens, it’s proof that something’s wrong, that they can then correct.

    More hurricanes? Global warming.
    Less hurricanes? Global warming.
    Average hurricanes? Global warming.

    Heavy rains? Global warming.
    Drought? Global warming.
    Average rainfall? Global warming.

    Since there are only three possibilities in each case, and each of them is somehow proof of Global warming, everything that ever happens is proof of Global warming.

    Here’s another example of the technique:

    I vividly recall when The Cosby Show ended its wildly-successful run that some “advocates” for black folks condemned it for having “unrealistically” depicted “the black experience”, what with having a doctor married to a lawyer as the parents. But I also recall other “advocates” condemning Good Times for having reinforced negative stereotypes about “the black experience”, by depicting low-income residents of the Projects. I then realized that any depiction of blacks would either reinforce stereotypes or be “unrealistic”. And not depicting blacks is exclusionary, so every TV show is wrong according to one of the three theories.

    Isn’t it convenient to be able to set things up so that everything proves your case?

  35. And here in Germany, 2-3 days a week in a neverending, mantra-like prayermill they show on a political TV channel, that increasing temperatures also increase the risc of worldwide Hypercanes, destroying the planet.
    Of course that are *scientifically modelled* flights of fancy, supported by the usual self made horror videos of simulated hypercanes.

    Fear…brainwash…

    ROFL

  36. Oh boy, models, don’t you just love them.
    It would be really nice to earn aliving playing with models, the more models I do, the more money I make.
    I did not think that the Aussies went in for double talk, straight shooters, looks like they have the self serving model makers like we do in the UK.
    Hard Luck!

  37. P. Solar says:
    >Note the use of “climate change scientists” not just climate scientists.

    A climate change scientist is one who has been vetted as a supporter of CAGW. I am not sure if there is a CCS card to be carried in one’s wallet. A plain old climate scientist is one who studies the climate and reports what they find. Sorta boring….

  38. I think people are beginning to realize what “climate change” has always been about.

    A small group of doomsday scientists – many of whom predicted a coming ice age forty years ago – began touting global warming caused by man’s release of CO2 in to the atmosphere. Qt the same time governments realized they were about to be financially insolvent. It didn’t take much thought to realize that governments could maintain financially stability if they could heavily tax energy use. If it was ‘to save the earth’, who would dare object? At the same time, environmental extremists, luddites, and technophobes saw this as a way to stop the “scourge” of Man on this world (they would firmly believe ANY story that showed Man was plague on the Earth). An unholy, unspoken alliance was born.

    I (we) have seen this before, at least in the USA. Back in the late 1980s, the gay community wanted unlimited research funds into curing AIDS. A very conservative Surgeon General (C. Everett Koop) at the time was very amenable to any idea that would reduce promiscuity. The two groups joined forces and promoted the idea that heterosexuals were at extreme risk.

    The climate change cabal came very close to winning the debate and taking control of the world’s economy, and the future of Mankind. Unfortunately for them, the global economic meltdown began before they sealed the deal.

    We may now be winning this battle for science, but the underlying problems and philosophies that generated this fight are still there. Be very skeptical of ALL proposed mass movements, for ANY reason. This war will continue on other fronts.

  39. “Climate change projections using this modelling system show a strong tendency for a decrease in TC numbers in the Australian region, especially in the region of current preferred occurrence,”

    Presumably this model predicts more frequent El Ninos (as seen in the positive phase of the PDO). From what I’ve read El Ninos bring drier conditions to Australia,
    La Ninas bring wetter conditions (As seen earlier this year).

    Perhaps the model doesn’t know about the changing PDO.

  40. Further to my last

    http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog

    “Given the well-known relationship between the SOI and heavy rains in eastern Australia (eg., McBride and Nicholls, 1983) we can conclude that the fundamental cause of the heavy rains this past six months was indeed this record La Nina event.”

  41. This whole comment line is talking about `a study released because of a FOI request”. That is good, …….. but as I asked above, Where is the study? If it was released then where is it. Look, I don’t necessarily doubt that the study exists, but someone show me a link to the study. Otherwise, it may as well not exist.

    This discussion is not up to the normal level of WUWT without the actual paper.

  42. jtom says:
    “(A)t the same time governments realized they were about to be financially insolvent.”
    You don’t think you are giving them too much credit here?
    How many of them saw the GFC coming?

  43. Bulldust:

    Aside from the fact that pretty much every organisation absolves themselves of any responsibility for climate data, if the Australian government was a corporation employee and they presented the carbon-tax proposal as they have, they’d be laughed out of the boardroom for basing it on such questionable data and having no real cost-benefits analysis.

    It’s a shame that the Australian public have to wait up to 4 years to make executive decisions about such “employees”. I’m sure they would have been “sacked” by now.

  44. Regardless of a model’s outcome, it still appears that the reader’s bias plays a large part in the interpretation. A commenter to the article in The Australian suggested that it supports orthodox CAGW theory in that it forecasts cyclones of greater severity ie. we told you so. What I see is a scenario with less cyclones, most of the loss being those in the lower categories, with only the more severe ones remaining. That is not the same thing. I suspect my plea for objectiveness on the warmists’ side falls on deaf ears.

  45. Pamela Gray: There have been studies of the Earth when it was at 1000PPM CO2 in the atmosphere, it seems to have been a remarkably pleasant place to live, with the temperature gradient between the poles and the equator greatly reduced. You will note that the tropical zones stayed pretty much the same, so there were no excessive temperatures, and of course, the reduced temperature gradients could have only given us a balmy climate:

    Stanley, Steven M. Earth System History. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1999. ISBN 0-7167-2882-6.
    “The Eocene global climate was perhaps the most homogeneous of the Cenozoic; the temperature gradient from equator to pole was only half that of today’s, and deep ocean currents were exceptionally warm. The polar regions were much warmer than today, perhaps as mild as the modern-day Pacific Northwest; temperate forests extended right to the poles, while rainy tropical climates extended as far north as 45°. The difference was greatest in the temperate latitudes; the climate in the tropics however, was probably similar to today’s.”

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